Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dog Learnin'

I love being around my dogs. I learn much when we are together.
When they were insanely bouncy, nutty, playful puppies they taught me never to leave my sneakers out on the porch ... if I ever wanted to see them again.
Other lessons included furniture repair, chicken repair (TLC, neosporin ...the chicken survived), find the dog bowl, find the tool, find the ... just fill in the blank with anything a lab could pick up and carry.

They even taught my daughter Katie to swear ... which is pretty amazing because she's a goody two shoes (thank God) and none of us walk around swearing here. We just don't and we really were careful about what TV we watched when they were little too. We basically skipped prime time TV during the '90's.

So you can imagine my shock years ago, when both puppies jumped up on 7 year old Katie in that crazy puppy, springbok way and she let loose with,

To this day, we're still not sure where she learned that, but it's become one of those stories parents never get tired of telling. "Remember that time the puppies jumped on ... "

I think the theme running through most of their lessons (besides unconditional love) is simply patience and rose smelling while you can.

At almost 13, the two siblings, Flounder and Feather take longer naps between lessons these days. They like to do this in the barn, especially if I am working in it.

We call it the "barn", but really it's a 12' by 16' shed with a loft upstairs. Mrs. FC and I built it from a Popular Mechanics plan in 1989 when we were still in the singlewide trailer. It came out pretty good which is a testament to the clarity and accuracy of the plans as neither of us had built anything of this size before, much less poured a concrete slab.

There's an old pedestal fan in it and Flounder really likes to sleep in front of it on hot days when the barn is open.

These days, the barn is showing some wear and tear and it could use a new roof covering. Last week, I dove into cleaning it out and making it usable as a woodshop again. I moved a bunch of stored "stuff" up into the loft to open up some workspace.
Finally I had room to work again!

So of course, the dogs moved in as soon as I opened the doors. I don't mind really, as I said, I love being with the knuckleheads and my education is not complete.

I think the ideal job for me would be one in which my dogs could come along. When I worked as a painter years ago, my brother brought along his dog, Brown, on every job. He was just part of the equipment like the rollers and brushes. I don't remember him ever being in the way.

Flounder and Feather are big dogs of course, so they are sometimes in the way, but I hate to disturb them while they are planning their next lesson for me.

This particular day, I think the lesson was a review of patience as a virtue, since they set themselves up in the entrance of the barn so that I had to weave between them every time I went from the table saw to the outside work area.

Flounder avoiding the puparrazi.

Maybe if they had known I was making them a new doggy den for their corner of the porch, they would have moved out into the yard for their napping ... er, lesson planning, so I could have finished quicker.

Or maybe it was just part of their clever plan to slow me down so I could do some rose smellin' myself.


Mark said...

I almost literally did roflol when I read the Katie story. My dogs have also taught me a lot of things. One of the most interesting things is that kids and dogs are a lot alike. I also learned not to make that kind of comparison to someone I didn't know very well.

robin andrea said...

What great companions they are. Watching you work in the barn is hard work for them. I'm glad to see they get to take nice long naps.

Thunder Dave said...

Obviously myself and my silver-tongued sailor (Lightnin) didn't avoid TV in the 90's!

Oh and the cat says hello, among other things! ;-)

Sharon said...

Bless 'em. :) That is so funny about Katie, I can just picture it.

threecollie said...

Ha, Mike is 13 too and going deaf and blind. He keeps track of me by lying down behind me so I can't get away without him....which sometimes makes me talk like Katie while I reel around the room after falling on him.
Great doggie bed!

Cathy said...

I'm about to walk the laptop over to my hubby - there's going to be an awful lot of awwwwn' going on.

We sure miss those lessons . . . .

Thanks for the memories.

vicki said...

Love it. Since I am more liberal minded than you, I am extremely fond of cats AND dogs. Sophie just hopped on the keyboard- she's jealous of that fine new bed? Flounder and Feather are lucky dogs, indeed and appear to be aging gracefully.

Floridacracker said...

It was a rare and hilarious moment.
I make that comparison too. I think they are very much like kids. I've seen nondog people with kids get rankled by that statement, but it's true.

They are expert nappers.

It was Seinfeld wasn't it?

It was so out of the blue ... I think I was speechless before cracking up.

Ha! Just another coincidence!
I made this dog bed from some bathouse leftovers. Not fancy, but they love it.

Dog memories ... does it get any more bittersweet?

I suppose cats have their place. (resisting urge to suggest place)
I'm sure they must teach their owners much also.
It's a class I never took.
I can appreciate cat beauty though, and as I recall, Sophie is a cutie.

Mrs. s said...

Seems that they've got you very well trained. Now if they could only train YOU to nap once in a while... ;)

SophieMae said...

I have to go along with you on the cat thing.

Pretty cool doggie den! Just one question... where's the kaboom? There's supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom. 8-]

Sharon said...

Where's the Uranium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator??? Oh no...that creature has stolen it!! :o)

Deb said...

I have a houseful of overgrown dogs that are still puppies. I understand Katie's sentiment very well! :) Needless to say, I don't have the problem of stepping around sleeping dogs.

Floridacracker said...

Mrs. S,
I can't nap. I've tried.

LOL. I missed it!

"Earthling, you've made me very, very angry"

I thought you could relate!

Laura said...

You can always trust a retriever to find the most comfortable spot at any given moment!

LauraHinNJ said...

Dogs are the best teachers, just wish they weren't so often underfoot.

Great post, FC.

Floridacracker said...

Is Buddy a retriever? ...'cause he sure looked cozy on that couch at VitaminSea :)

Thanks, I imagine your new pup is teaching you much.